ST. LOUIS -- For the second time in three years, the St. Louis Rams released wide receiver Isaac Bruce. This time they may be cutting ties for good with the last player remaining from the team's 1995 move from Los Angeles to St. Louis.
"It's a tough choice for the franchise," coach Scott Linehan said on the team's Web site, stlouisrams.com. "It's like anything else. We make decisions as a franchise on the business side and that's the part that makes it the most difficult."
Linehan said the "possibility is always open" for Bruce to re-sign with the Rams.
Bruce's agent, Jimmy Sexton, didn't immediately return a telephone message from the AP.
Gus Frerotte, the backup quarterback the last two seasons, also was released on Thursday. The moves came hours before the start of free agency.
The 35-year-old Bruce had been due a $2 million roster bonus on Friday and the Rams were unsuccessful in attempts to restructure his contract. He signed a $15 million, three-year deal in March 2006, billed as an opportunity to finish his career with the Rams, five days after he was cut in a similar salary cap move.
Bruce is third on the NFL career list with 14,070 yards receiving, trailing only Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. He's sixth in receptions with 942, has been to four Pro Bowls and caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Kurt Warner in the Rams' Super Bowl victory over the Tennessee Titans in 2000.
Bruce was second on the team last season with 55 catches and had a 13.3 yards-per-catch average and four touchdowns. He has eight 1,000-yard seasons with the team and had 119 receptions for 1,781 yards and 13 touchdowns in 1995.
The 36-year-old Frerotte, also a 14-year veteran, made three starts when starter Marc Bulger was sidelined by injury and played in nine games overall in two seasons. Last year, he threw seven touchdown passes with 12 interceptions.
The move frees up $1.9 million heading into free agency while leaving the Rams with only two quarterbacks, Bulger and Brock Berlin, on the roster. Frerotte had been due a $500,000 roster bonus on Friday.
The Rams may be interested in free agent Todd Collins, who played for the Redskins last year when new offensive coordinator Al Saunders was with that team.
On Wednesday, the Rams restructured defensive end Leonard Little's contract to free up more cap space. The team's best pass rusher was hampered by a torn ligament in his left big toe, an injury that limited him to one sack, and ended the year on injured reserve after surgery.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press